Report of the Head of Education and Learning (CS/19/12), attached
The Committee considered the Report of the Head of Education and Learning (CS/19/12) which gave an update of the Local Area Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Inspection by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on the effectiveness of the County Council in meeting its legal duties under the Children and Families Act 2014.
The focus of the Inspection was concentrated on three key areas as to the effectiveness of the local area on:
• identifying children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities;
• assessing and meeting the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities; and
• improving outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
The Report covered the findings of the Inspection which had been held between 10 and 14 December 2018 and the requirement for a Written Statement of Action (WSoA) to address areas of weakness identified by Ofsted and CQC. This would set out the detailed outcomes and actions that the local area (and not just the County Council) would need to address the areas of concerns. The Report also detailed progress to date across the system.
The Committee noted that the Children’s Scrutiny Committee had agreed at its meeting on 18 March 2019 to set up a Task Group to inform and dovetail with the on-going work in response to the findings of the Inspection, including transitions from children’s services to adults’ services.
Members’ discussion points/comments with the Head of Education and Learning, Senior Commissioning Manager (disabilities and mental health) and Head of Women and Children’s Unit in NEW Devon CCG) included:
· the objective to improve outcomes for children and young people from 0 -25 within the Devon County Council area and the work of the multi-agency SEND Improvement Board responsible for the Programme;
· the close working with the ‘County Lines’ team;
· the large increase in demand for EHCPs over the last 18 months and associated capacity issues and increased personnel; and continued tracking and monitoring of progress;
· improvements in the timeliness and quality within the NHS in their work on EHCPs working closely with Education and Social Care;
· the production of an online Induction Pack for all new staff involved with SEND children and young people to help embed good practice; and
· the relatively low number of exclusion of children with SEND noting the graduated approach before permanent exclusion and the relatively low level funding for Devon Schools and impact on the special needs.
It was MOVED by Councillor Randall Johnson, SECONDED by Councillor Way and
(a) that the findings of Devon’s Local Area SEND Inspection and the requirement for the local area to produce a Written Statement of Action within 70 days be noted;
(b) that the Inspection is of the area not the Local Authority be noted;
(c) that the actions already taken or in progress by the local area be noted; and
(d) that the formation with the Children’s Scrutiny Committee of a Task Group to inform and dovetail with the work of the Inspection, including transitions from children’s services to adults’ services be supported, and that Councillors Randall Johnson, Saywell and Whitton be nominated to serve.